Monday, May 5, 2008

Baxter's Directions to the Depressed: Cast your cares on God (part 3)

The Signs and Causes of Melancholy, with directions suited to the case of those who are afflicted with it. Collected out of the works of Mr. Richard Baxter, for the sake of those, who are wounded in Spirit. By Samuel Clifford, minister of the Gospel London, Bible and Three Crowns, 1716. pp51-66. [Edited and abridged by SML.]

Click here for an introduction to Baxter on Melancholy

Chapter 4: Directions to the Melancholy.

Direction 1: Take notice of worldly sorrows and discontents: do not put so much value in earthly things to that they can disquiet you: but learn to cast your cares upon God.

4. And study how great a sin it is to set our wills and desires in discontented opposition to the wisdom, will, and providence of God, and to make our wills, instead of his, as gods to ourselves. Does not a murmuring heart secretly accuse God? All accusation of God has some degree of blasphemy in it: for the accuser supposes that somewhat of God is to be blamed. If you do not dare to open your mouth and accuse him, do not let the complaining in your heart accuse him. Know how much of religion and holiness consists in bringing this rebellious self-will to a full resignation, submission, and conformity to the Will of God. Till you can rest in God’s will, you will never have rest.

5. Study well how great a duty it is to wholly trust God, and our blessed Redeemer, both with Soul and Body and all we have. Is it not infinite power, wisdom, and goodness to be trusted? Does God support the Heavens and the Earth and the whole Creation? And yet you cannot rely upon Him? Is He not wise enough to be trusted with the conduct and disposal of you? Is he not good and gracious enough to be trusted with your Life, Estate, and Name and Welfare? Is He not great and powerful enough, to be trusted against the greatest danger or difficulties or opposition that can befall you? Is he not true and faithful enough to be trusted, whatever improbabilities may arise before you? Who ever trusted him in vain, or was ever deceived by Him? Are not his Son, and Spirit and Covenant and Oath, sufficient pledges of His love for your security? Whatever he will be to the Ungodly, I am sure he will not cast off the Soul that loves Him, and would fain be fully conformed to his Will. It cannot be that he should spurn at them that are humbled at His feet, and long and pray, and seek and mourn, after nothing more than His grace and love. ... It is the refuge of my soul, that quiets me in my fears that God my father and redeemer has commanded me to trust him with my body, my health, my liberty, my estate; and when Eternity seems strange and dreadful to me, that he bids me trust him with my departing soul. Heaven and Earth (as was said before) are upheld and maintained by him, and shall I distrust him?

Objection: BUT it is only his Children that He will save.

Answer: True: and all are his Children who are truly willing to obey and please him: if you are truly willing to be Holy, and to obey his commanding will, in a godly righteous and sober Life, you may boldly rest in His disposing Will, and rejoice in his rewarding and accepting will, for he will pardon all our infirmities, through the merits and intercession of Christ.

Part 4

No comments: